The hand of a Martian "gimmick", India aims to Mars and history. With the spacecraft that launched yesterday, it seeks to become the first Asian country to reach the red planet.
It's an ambitious project, begun in 2012 and characterized by its low cost: just $ 4.5 billion rupees ($72 million).
The key is the application of "Jugaad", a popular concept in India with which intends to find alternative and less costly as possible to each challenge. For example, in this case, instead of designing a powerful rocket, engineers resolved put a more modest model to turn around the planet for several weeks so that you gain speed and you can overcome gravity, according to the AFP news agency said.
So, on a mission relatively cheap, the Mars Orbiter satellite, named "Mangalyaan" ("Martian gadget" in hindi) by the press, took off yesterday from the space centre Satish Dhawan in Sriharikota, in the Northwest of the country.
The probe has sensors for measuring the presence of methane in the atmosphere of Mars, which credited the hypothesis of a primitive form on this planet which brought the Earth-like conditions.
The director of the India organization of space research (ISRO, for its acronym in English), K. Radhakrishnan, told the BBC that "the main objective is to demonstrate the capacity of India to reach the orbit of Mars and then make some significant scientific experiments".
He is expected that after a journey of 300 days, it reaches Mars orbit on September 21, 2014.
"It is to find solutions to the problems of man and society", defended Radhakrishnan, who pointed out that the country's space programme requires $1 billion, the 0.34% of the expenditures of the central Government, most destined to the construction of communication satellites.
And the mission to Mars, explained, is 0.8% of this percentage.
"If we look at the benefits that the country has accumulated over the years - he added-, exceeded the money that has been spent in terms of tangible and intangible benefits." Then recalled the advantages for fishermen, farmers and those governing bodies dedicated to disaster management that benefited from the satellites.
Career with China
The India mission seeks to leave his mark at a time when private companies and countries like China burst with force in space. And after the failure in 2011 for the first Martian mission of China, the eventual success of the Indian mission could make weight on the space stage character.
But Radhakrishnan denies that there is a race with the Chinese, who for the first time ten years ago sent a man into space, something that India still has been able to do.
"Each country has its own priorities and approaches (...). India's approach has been that of the peaceful use of outer space and space applications, and that India today is a model for the whole world", he says.
"We are not in a race with anyone, but I would say that we are in a race with ourselves."
Other space agencies, such as the United States, Europe and Russia, already have succeeded in their missions to Mars. The Curiosity of the NASA robot arrived at the red planet last year and could be determined for the first time that Mars was conducive to microbial life in its distant past.
Americans are planning to launch on November 18 probe Maven to the highest atmospheric layer of the planet Mars. It is part of the Mission of the atmospheric evolution and volatile on Mars, a project with a total cost of $671,000 million that dwarfs the $72 million spent for the Martian "gadget", Indian.